Olivia was privileged enough to be born in the Lowveld and to have grown up enveloped by nature alongside her younger sister, artistic mother and a menagerie of rescued animals. She went on to matriculate from Penryn College before taking a gap year and studying a further seven years to graduate from the University of Pretoria – Onderstepoort with a bachelor of veterinary medicine degree and a vision to make a difference in the conservation world.
She practiced for two years before having to undergo a bone marrow transplant in 2019, and has used the lengthy recovery time to explore nature through creativity, as well as how healing our relationship with the natural world can be.
"Growing up in the Lowveld has played an incredibly formative role in making me the person that I am today. It has instilled in me an intimate closeness to Nature and to the earth, as well as an understanding of how imperative that connection is to the human spirit.
The Lowveld afforded me a childhood where curiosity was nurtured, where natural rhythms were noticed, discussed and appreciated, and it developed in my family a deep appreciation for light – to watch the way it falls and how it changes day to day, season to season. Nature didn't just pass us by; it was an important part of our daily lives; and it has now become the place I go to for inspiration, for wisdom, for healing and for connection. It is a sacred space where I can cultivate a life of gratitude.
Through my artwork I hope to shift how observers perceive the natural world and start to unearth that deep memory and connection that we all innately have to Nature. I hope to remind people to see the light, and to stop and notice the small overlooked elements of the earth that they encounter every day" - Olivia McMurry